The Union Textile Ministry has issued notices to three jute mills in Bengal seeking explanation on procurement of cheap jute bags from Nepal and Bangladesh and supplying them against the government orders.
Procuring jute bags from other countries and supplying them to the government with Indian jute mills’ tag is illegal. According to sources, the jute commissioner’s office issued notices to three mills – including Northbrook jute mill, Gaurishankar jute mill and Rameshawara jute mill.
Following the state government’s intervention, the management of Northbrook Jute Co Ltd, which was closed following the murder of the mill’s chief executive officer on June 15, decided Monday to reopen the factory from July 1. Meanwhile, in another incident, a 45-year-old jute worker committed suicide the day before the mill reopened.
Significantly, there are allegations against the mills that they indulge into “illegal practice” by procuring cheap jute materials from Bangladesh and Nepal where there is a subsidy on jute products. This results in “low production” in the state jute factories. The management at Northbrook has reportedly told its workers about stocks lying in the mills and the factory not being able to afford more production, leading to cuts in working hours.
Sources in the textile ministry say if the allegations are found to be true, the mills could be blacklisted which would mean they won’t get government orders in future. And no government orders, they add, would render it difficult for them to function as at least 80 to 90 per cent of the total production of the mills are procured by the government for jute packaging.